Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Welcome to Mumbai Airport. Your Gate Is Past the Art Museum.

Mumbai:  You could easily pass through the most sprawling art museum in India without realizing you had even been there.
Scattered throughout the four levels of Terminal 2 of Mumbai’s international airport are more than 5,500 pieces of Indian art and handicrafts, including tribal totem poles and a 3-D map of Mumbai built from recycled chips and circuit boards. Together they make up the Jaya He, GVK New Museum.
The X-shaped, ultramodern terminal handles all international and many domestic flights for the country’s commercial hub. So it is foremost a working airport, and the 50 million people who come through every year are there for one primary purpose: to get to and from their airplanes.
“There is anxiety built in,” said Rekha Nair, who oversees the museum and customer experience at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. “People think, I just want to get to the gate.”
As a result, the art is tucked into the hallways, baggage carousels and check-in counters so as to avoid disrupting the movement of passengers and the nearly 30,000 people who work at the airport. Angelic figures perch above the elevators. Treelike sculptures stand sentinel over the luggage belts. A mural accompanies passengers up the escalator after they step off the arrivals bus.
The most prominent installation is “India Greets,” a 60-foot-high display that wraps around the center of the terminal. It starts with real doorways and balconies from around India mounted to the wall, then progresses horizontally to a series of portraits by Andrew Logan, Robyn Beeche and Anjolie Menon as passengers walk toward the gates. Once an hour, a life-size white peacock slides along a wire in front of the works.
12/03/19 Vindu Goel/New York Times